Every morning, the pastry chef of Nickel Diner officiates a sacred marriage between sweet and savory. The result is the restaurant's famed maple bacon donut: a glazed pastry topped with crumbled bacon bits. This mix of textures is a common one at the quirky venue, typifying their salt peanut cake—covered with peanut butter and potato chips—and dinner entrée of catfish with corn cakes, which derive a sweet tang from a candied pecan sauce. The creations of head chef Monica May and her team are enough to distinguish Nickel from a traditional diner (though, of course, they still flip a good burger). Nevertheless, designer Kristen Trattner dreamed up decor that matches the menu's eccentricity. On Food Network's Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, Guy Fieri marvels at the upside-down floor lamps on the ceiling and the mannequin busts in the window, whose hairstyles consist of sculpted meringue. Guests can greet them at breakfast, lunch, or dinnertime every day of the week except for Monday, presumably the day when they rid their beehives of actual bees.
The name Pestolini conjures up visions of pasta coated in the bright green Genoa sauce, but though pesto and pasta both have spots on Pestolini's menu, the eatery is not an Italian joint. It actually offers an eclectic mix of food, including breakfast burritos, pancakes, and grilled sandwiches. The food pairs with a wide variety of drinks, such as organic french-press teas, espresso, boba tea drinks, and smoothies.
Though its seven-ounce stature isn't the largest, Lazy Ox Canteen’s namesake burger is definitely the tastiest in the city, according to LA Weekly. The allure lays in what surrounds the patty: Bravo Farms white cheddar, whole-grain mustard, and a toasted, house-made bun. The burger epitomizes head chef Travis Chase’s approach to food: he strives to make it aesthetically pleasing and chock-full of local ingredients, just like the village art thief's safehouse. That’s why the ingredients hail from nearby farmers and purveyors, and most wines and beers are born within state borders. Some of the menu’s other dishes (mostly small plates) feature California’s own La Noglera walnut oil or butter that's churned in-house. Even the décor reflects a love for earth and community: weathered slats of wood cover the walls, and long rows of tables grant plenty of space for communal meals.
Bright yellow sunflowers in the window greet arrivals to WoodSpoon, a welcoming touch that reflects the homespun feel of this Brazilian gem in downtown's Fashion District. The white walls and high ceilings are softened by funky art on the walls, benches with colorful cushions and mismatched thrift-store tableware. The cloth napkins set out at dinner are culled from fabric stores in the area. Chef and co-owner Natalia Pereira learned her kitchen tricks from her mother, and the rustic Brazilian fare has a just-like-mom-makes simplicity. Favorites include the pork burger with roasted cabbage and the Brazilian chicken pot pie stuffed with hearts of palm, olives and roasted corn. Grill plates (choice of beef, chicken, fish, vegetables and more) provide a sampler of regional sides, including rice, black beans, collard greens, plantains and salsa. Cinnamon-infused water is served to all; fresh coconut water or Brazilian sangria make for quenching tropical accompaniments.